TEMPLE TERRACE — After their first choice for a new city manager bowed out, City Council members voted this week to go after their second and, failing that, third choice.
All but council member David Pogorilich voted to start negotiations first with Dana Hlavac, deputy county manager for Mohave County, Ariz. If he is no longer available, the city will pursue Gerald Seeber, director of Tampa Bay Water.
Council members decided last week to start negotiations with Jeff Mihelich, assistant city manager of Surprise, Ariz. Mihelich declined soon after they had agreed on terms, said Mayor Frank Chillura. Mihelich's daughter wanted to finish high school in Arizona, the mayor explained.
"He was extremely apologetic. He went as far as saying, 'I'm not even going to turn in an expense sheet for flying down or staying at the hotel.' ''
Members Robert Boss and Grant Rimbey praised Hlavac's dynamic style and his background. He is a lawyer, a former Army captain paratrooper and a businessman.
Boss said he "would be the best fit for what we're looking for.''
Pogorilich and Chillura — who can vote only to break a tie — preferred talking to Seeber first because of his experience as a city manager in New Port Richey and Oviedo, a town near Orlando.
"Look at Mr. Seeber's work history,'' Pogorilich said. "He has 20-plus years of actual city manager experience ... with the fact that he's local, he's known locally, he has connections locally.''
Pogorilich said, though, that he will support the majority decision and work with any candidate they hire.
Philip Morgan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3435.